Saturday, April 21, 2012
A Drive Along The Blue Ridge
After that all day hiking event on Thursday, we weren’t too eager for another hike, but didn’t want to just sit around the house and then be stuck inside because of rain over the weekend. Gene had picked out what he thought might be a little leg stretcher. He found a short 5-mile loop hike with a 3-mile option if we didn’t want to go the whole distance. As it turned out, I didn’t even take the first step. He did better than I, but turned around after about a quarter mile. Guess we were more tired than we thought.
To get to that hike we had to go over to the Blue Ridge Parkway. After finding the trailhead, we spent a few minutes looking around at the little park there before finally deciding we really weren’t up to hiking after all. What to do now? We had driven all the way over there (along US 276 through beautiful rural North Carolina which wasn’t a waste of time by any means) and we had most of the day left with no plans or commitments. A drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway seemed like a worthy option.
The Blue Ridge Parkway is part of the National Park Service designated a National Scenic Byway. This two-lane road runs primarily along the crest of the Blue Ridge of the Appalachian Mountains for 469 miles between the southern end of Shenandoah National Park in Virginia and the Oconaluftee entrance to Great Smoky Mountain National Park in North Carolina. There are many pullouts at scenic overlooks. The park service also maintains several historical structures along the parkway. Stopping at the overlooks and at every historical exhibit can be very time consuming. Driving the Blue Ridge would be like driving Skyline Drive in Shenandoah or the Natchez Trace Parkway. Exploring every nook and cranny could take days.
Since that trail we were going to hike was only three miles south of Pisgah Inn we decided to let that be our starting point for our 40 mile drive south to the exit for Wayneville. The Parkway, being on the ridge, is at high elevation. We were above 5,000 feet for our entire drive and in the clouds. Along this 40-mile stretch we drove over the highest point on the entire Parkway at 6,053 feet. The fog was so thick at times we could hardly see the lines on the road. Later in the day, the sun was able to do its thing and we had occasional views.
We enjoyed the drive and since there are several great hiking destinations along the Blue Ridge, we’ll be back.
We want to give a big welcome to our latest follower, Becca. Becca is also a hiker and a bicyclists, and a lover of the outdoors. Welcome and thanks for tagging along, Becca.
That’s it for today. Thanks for tagging along.